Living with Emphysema
What is Emphysema
Living with emphysema can be quite difficult. Not only is it progressively harder to breathe, you also become fatigued easily which makes it hard to complete basic tasks. People suffering from lung disease say it takes them nearly an hour to take a shower. Cleaning and walking to the mailbox also take a very long amount of time, and for some people, are impossible tasks to accomplish. During the winter months, living with lung disease becomes increasing more cumbersome. The dry air caused by household heating and the cold outside air both cause people with lung disease to experience heightened symptom flare-ups. However, there are a few simple exercises that can help decrease these flare-ups and the conjoining difficulties they cause.
Emphysema is one of the major obstructive lung diseases that contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is the gradual destruction of the air sacs in the lungs, making it progressively more difficult to breathe. The tiny cluster-like air sacs in the lungs are responsible for bringing oxygen to the bloodstream. As emphysema progresses, the inner walls of the air sacs form holes weakening their internal structure. Thus, emphysema allows less oxygen to reach the bloodstream. Emphysema also destroys the elasticity of the airways leading to the air sacs.
As a result, the air sacs collapse trapping oxygen in the lungs. Sufferers of emphysema constantly feel short of breath and struggle to breathe.
Although your body’s ability to heal itself is a marvel, it needs some help in promoting lung health. There are multiple outlets to get help to your lungs. However, the easiest form of action is diet and exercise. For example, a study published in Thorax showed that men who eat apples have better lung health than those who do not. In this regard, seeking the help of a dietitian and fitness trainer can be very helpful, but make sure to speak about any planned rehabilitation with you physician first.
Here are some exercises to help your lungs:
- Walking and biking – Exercises that will stimulate heart health will help the lungs utilize oxygen more efficiently, which means less shortness of breath and deeper breathing. Try speed walking and riding a bike for extended periods of time.
- Swimming – You use nearly every muscle in your body when you swim. Use caution, swimming can seem harmless, but it can be strenuous. It’s important that people with lung damage ease into swimming.
- Yoga – Another activity that uses most of your body’s muscles, yoga can stimulate your lungs through focused breathing. Yoga also helps workout your diaphragm, the muscle that operates the lungs.
- Breathing exercises – There is a long list of breathing exercises you can perform to help improve lung capacity. Try breathing in deeply, and filing the lung cavity. When you exhale, purse your lips and breathe slowly. Then, try holding your breath for a few seconds before inhaling again. Repeat this exercise to see if you can increase the time you hold your breathe.
The importance of exercise for a healthy individual is obvious, but when you have a progressive lung disease, it is imperative that you exercise your lungs often. It is equally important that you seek a treatment that fits your lifestyle and provides you with the results that you seek. If you or a loved own suffers from a progressive lung disease like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, the Lung Institute may be able to help. The lung Institute uses your own body to help promote healing and get your life back within reach. Contact us today for a free consultation or call us at (800) 729-3065>.